When discussing theology, I've come to realize that not only is personal study of doctrine a necessary component to faith, but it is something that shouldn't be kept to oneself. I want to share my journey, both past and ongoing, into the realm of theology. Through this, I hope that you will gain insight into the Christian faith as a whole. Before reading anything else, I suggest you read the introduction and definitions (found in the pages tabs above) so you may better understand where I am coming from in everything I write. Because many of my posts are on heresies, there is also a page above with a family tree of heresies and links to all the posts I have so far on the topic.

14 October, 2012

Bible Study Notes: Revelation 20:1-6

We're working our way through Revelation (we touched on Revelation 19:17-21, but didn't spend much time there today) and are now dissecting the various interpretations of Revelation 20 and eschatology (study of the end times).  There will be more notes to follow over the next few weeks, as we continue reading through Revelation 20, but here's what we covered today.

There are four main eschatological views:
  • Historic Premillennialism (not common anymore, actually existed somewhat before Christianity in Judaism)
  • Dispensational Premillennialism (first taught by the Gnostic heretic Cerinthus in the mid-2nd century, largely developed in the 1830s-1870s and most common protestant, specifically Arminian, eschatological belief)
  • Postmillennialism (popularity has waxed and waned, most popular at the turn of the 20th century but died out around WWI, slight resurgence today especially in Reformed, or Calvinist, churches)
  • Amillennialism (the proper eschatological view subscribed to by Lutherans and Catholics) -- perhaps more properly called "Realized Millennialism" as "Amillennialism" is a derogatory misnomer (meaning literally "no millennium")

Another lovely white board drawing from Pr. Wolfmueller

All four eschatological beliefs have some similarities in their timelines:
  • Death of Christ
  • Resurrection and Ascension of Christ
  • Gifting of the Holy Ghost to Christians
  • <...something happens...>
  • Resurrection of the Dead
  • The Final Judgment
  • Eternity
It's what happens in-between (the <...something happens...>) that is different, and in different orders, for each eschatological view.  Here are the "in-betweens" for each type:

Historic Premillennialism
  • The church age
  • Tribulation
  • 2nd coming of Christ
  • 1,000-years kingdom on earth (during which Satan is bound)
  • "Satan's Little Season" (where he is loosed for the final battle)
  • 2nd 2nd coming of Christ

Dispensational Premillennialism
  • The church age
  • Christ sort of comes back for the "rapture" (invented in the 1830s)
  • 7 year tribulation: 3 years of "peace", then the Antichrist comes and persecutes the converted Jews
  • (2nd) 2nd coming of Christ
  • 1,000-years kingdom on earth (during which Satan is bound)
  • "Satan's Little Season" (where he is loosed for the final battle)
  • (3rd) 2nd coming of Christ

  • The church age
  • "Golden age"
  • 1,000-years kingdom on earth (during which Satan is bound)
  • "Satan's Little Season" (where he is loosed for the final battle)
  • 2nd coming of Christ

  • The church age = 1,000-years kingdom (the death of Jesus caused Satan to be bound)
  • "Satan's Little Season" (where he is loosed for the final battle)
  • 2nd coming of Christ


What does Revelation 20:1-4 say about the end times?
  • The Millennium begins with the binding of the devil (which is accomplished in the death and resurrection of Jesus)
  • After the Millennium, Satan must be released for a time for the final battle
  • The resurrection of the dead and final judgment follows


Now for a few notes on Dispensational Premillennialism:
  • Teaches that God works in different "dispensations" or "economies" of salvation, usually 7:
    • The Garden
    • The Fall
    • Noah
    • The Patriarchs
    • The Law
    • The Church (or Grace)
    • The End Times
  • They base much of their teaching on the 70 weeks in Daniel (which are really week-years, or 490 years)
    • Jesus was rejected by the Jews at 69 weeks
    • There is a pause (called the "great prophetic comma") between Jesus and the 70th week
    • The Rapture removes the church so God can "deal" with Israel in the 7 years Tribulation
  • Question they can never answer: Is the 2nd coming at the rapture, after the Tribulation, or at the end before the final resurrection?
  • They say that about 2/3rds of the Jews will become "believers" during the Tribulation, and 1/3rd will be killed in the Great Persecution by the Anti-Christ
  • One of the three pillars of Dispensational Premillennialism is the Distinction between Israel and the Church (Dual-Covenant Theology)
  • During the 1,000-years Kingdom, Jesus reigns on an earthly throne in Jerusalem and continues to offer sacrifices in the rebuilt temple (which is utterly ridiculous and unsettling, since He already made the final sacrifice on the cross)
  • At the beginning of the 1,000-years kingdom, those raptured and who died in the Great Persecution during the Tribulation will be resurrected with heavenly bodies, but the believing Jews who are still alive will remain with their earthly bodies and can still marry, have children, and die of very old age (500+ years)
  • The 5th or 6th generation of the Jewish converts will rebel and join with Satan in the final battle at the end of the 1,000-years kingdom
  • Dispensational Premillennialism comes from the incorrect reading of the Bible as if it is about Israel, not Jesus
  • Dispensational Premillennialists use Matthew 24:36-441 Corinthians 15:50-58, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 to "prove" the rapture, but that is through a misinterpretation of the texts (trying to get the text to say what they want it to instead of proper exegesis of Scripture interpreting Scripture)
  • Dispensational Premillennialism teaches that Jesus was only crucified, died, buried, resurrected and ascended as "Plan B"; "Plan A" was to get the Jews to believe and He wasn't supposed to die (which is also utter nonsense)
In other words, Dispensational Premillennialism ends up looking like a ransom note, with snippets from various verses from various parts of the Bible all hobbled together to fit preconceived ideas rather than letting the clear Word of God interpret itself... and some of it, they honestly just made up.  The majority of Dispensational Premillennialism was invented in the mid-1800s.


Anonymous said...

/ Thanks, Sarah, for your good study. I found this on the net. Any reaction? Tanya /

Catholics Did NOT Invent the Rapture !

Many assert that the "rapture" promoted by evangelicals was first taught, at least seminally, by a Jesuit Catholic priest named Francisco Ribera in his 16th century commentary on the book of Revelation.
To see what is claimed, Google "Francisco Ribera taught a rapture 45 days before the end of Antichrist's future reign."
After seeing this claim repeated endlessly on the internet without even one sentence from Ribera offered as proof, one widely known church historian decided to go over every page in Ribera's 640-page work published in Latin in 1593.
After laboriously searching for the Latin equivalent of "45 days" ("quadraginta quinque dies"), "rapture" ("raptu," "raptio," "rapiemur," etc.) and other related expressions, the same scholar revealed that he found absolutely nothing in Ribera's commentary to support the oft-repeated claim that Ribera taught a prior (45-day) rapture! (Since the same scholar plans to publish his complete findings, I am not at liberty to disclose his name.)
Are you curious about the real beginnings of this evangelical belief (a.k.a. the "pre-tribulation rapture") merchandised by Darby, Scofield, Lindsey, Falwell, LaHaye, Ice, Van Impe, Hagee and many others?
Google "The Unoriginal John Darby," "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," "X-Raying Margaret," "Edward Irving is Unnerving," "Walvoord Melts Ice," "Thomas Ice (Bloopers)," "Wily Jeffrey," "Deceiving and Being Deceived" by D.M., "The Real Manuel Lacunza," "Roots of Warlike Christian Zionism," "Pretrib Rapture Politics," "Pretrib Hypocrisy," "Famous Rapture Watchers," and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" - most of these by the author of the 300-page nonfiction book "The Rapture Plot," the highly endorsed and most accurate documentation on the long hidden historical facts of the 182-year-old pre-tribulation rapture theory imported from Britain during the late 19th century.

Sarah Marie Arnold said...

Honestly, I've never associated the rapture with Catholicism. Both Catholics and Lutherans are Amillennials, while the "rapture" is an 1830s-ish fiction of Dispensational Premillennialism. Are Dispensationalists saying the Catholics started it as an attempt to validate their invention of the rapture? That's very interesting. I've never heard that one previously.

Lance said...

I wont re-open a 2 year old thread, but sometime, when you're in the mood, we should sit-down with a plate of tacos, & beer.

You mention; "There are four main eschatological views:

* Historic Premillennialism...
* Dispensational Premillennialism...
* Postmillennialism...
* Amillennialism..."

Whereas my four main eschatological views are:

* Historicist
* Preterist
* Spiritualist (aka, Idealist)
* Futurist, of which all for of yours are a subset

Sarah Marie Arnold said...

I would, myself, consider preterism the closest to being correct... but it still doesn't seem the whole picture. I addressed those here though: http://silverpurifiedbyfire.blogspot.com/2013/06/heresies-of-week-futurism-historicism.html

Would love to sit and chat about it sometime!